Danny Meyer’s GreenRiver Restaurant Closing: Trend of Michelin-Starred Restaurant Closures in Chicago Continues

GreenRiver restaurant closing

GreenRiver Restaurant Closing

The GreenRiver restaurant closing is both the latest Michelin-starred restaurant closing and the most recent Chicago restaurant to shut down. Owner and restaurateur Danny Meyer’s restaurant closure will occur on January 24, with the announcement having been made abruptly through its Facebook page. There were no details regarding the number employees losing their jobs as a result.

“We have made the difficult decision to close GreenRiver,” the Facebook post reads. “We are grateful to our neighbors in Streeterville and the greater Chicago community for welcoming us so warmly. Our top priority is our team members, and we are now actively involved in discussions about how best to support their career advancement during this transition.”

The restaurant first opened its doors in September 2015. Prior to GreenRiver closing, it would go on to receive accolades, including one star in the Michelin Red Guide, indicating a high level of dining quality. Its success can be attributed in part to its owners, the aforementioned Danny Meyer, as well as cocktail bar The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog owners Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon.

For one of Danny Meyer’s restaurants to shut down is a surprise, given the man’s success. Since opening his first cafe in 1985, Meyer has been a major market presence. In addition to GreenRiver, his company, Union Square Hospitality Group, LLC, owns restaurants Gramercy Tavern, Maialino, and The Modern, among others. Meyer is also the man behind international burger establishment Shake Shack Inc (NYSE:SHAK).


However, even with all of Danny Meyer’s success, the GreenRiver Restaurant closing still occurred.

More Michelin-Starred Restaurant Closings in Chicago

The restaurant industry is typically high-risk, with studies showing that about 80% of restaurants fail in the first five years of operations. In the case of Michelin-starred establishments, the rate is of closures in the first five years is 30%. While this isn’t as high a percentage as those establishments that don’t possess the same prestige, it’s still enough to indicate that hard work and critical acclaim are no guarantees of success.

Here are a few examples of other Chicago restaurant closings which also boasted at least one Michelin star:

  • Gastronomy restaurant Moto was struggling financially to keep its doors open following after the death of its founder Homaro Cantu.
  • Avenues was shut down after chef de cuisine Curtis Duffy in order to start his own restaurant business venture. When Duffy left, he took the entire staff with him.
  • Bonsoiree decided to close its doors after having a re-opening under chefs, Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark. It resulted in there being a mutual decision to leave the business venture.

As you can see, the reasons for these Michelin-starred restaurant closings varies widely, many having nothing to do with a decline in customers or stiff competition. With issues other than food for many restaurants to be worried about, the GreenRiver restaurant closing is likely not to be the last of the Chicago restaurant closings as we get deeper into 2018.



Michelin-Starred GreenRiver in Chicago Abruptly Announces Closure,” Robb Report, January 8, 2018.

Danny Meyer,” Union Square Hospitality Group, LLC, last accessed January 9, 2017.

Michelin Stars No Guarantee Of Restaurant’s Success: 30% Closed In 5 Years,” DNA Info, June 6, 2017.

Curtis Duffy Aiming for 3 Stars; Avenues Likely to Reconcept,” Chicago Eater, July 14, 2011.

Beverly Kim, Johnny Clark Out at Bonsoiree; Restaurant Will Either Re-concept or Close,” Chicago Eater, October 3, 2012.